KATHMANDU — The researchers from Pennsylvania State University have found that mushrooms could be used to fight aging and boost general health as they are rich in anti-oxidants.
According to the findings, published in the journal Food Chemistry, the researchers have recently conducted an experiment to identify the anti-aging properties in mushrooms.
And, the what researchers have found thst when the body uses food to produce energy, it produces free radicals, atoms and electrons that can cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA. This process causes oxidative stress. And, replenishing antioxidants, may help prevent oxidative stress, which is often linked with diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
After taking a close look at 13 mushroom species, researchers discovered mushrooms may contain unusually high amounts of two antioxidants, ergothioneine and glutathione, linked with fighting aging.
Researchers noted the amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione in mushrooms vary by species with the porcini species, a wild variety, containing the highest amount of the two compounds among the 13 species tested and cooking them does not affect the compound.
“What we found is that, without a doubt, mushrooms are highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together, and that some types are really packed with both of them,” Robert Beelman, lead researcher said in a statement.
Beelman said that replenishing antioxidants in the body, then, may help protect against this oxidative stress.
“There’s a theory — the free radical theory of aging — that’s been around for a long time that says when we oxidize our food to produce energy there’s a number of free radicals that are produced that are side products of that action and many of these are quite toxic,” said Beelman.
“The body has mechanisms to control most of them, including ergothioneine and glutathione, but eventually enough accrue to cause damage, which has been associated with many of the diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”
“We found that the porcini has the highest, by far, of any we tested,” said Beelman. “This species is really popular in Italy where searching for it has become a national pastime.”
The more common mushroom types, like the white button, had less of the antioxidants, but had higher amounts than most other foods, Beelman said. The amount of ergothioneine and glutathione also appear to be correlated in mushrooms.
Beelman said that future research may look at any role that ergothioneine and glutathione have in decreasing the likelihood of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s preliminary, but you can see that countries that have more ergothioneine in their diets, countries like France and Italy, also have lower incidences of neurodegenerative diseases, while people in countries like the United States, which has low amounts of ergothioneine in the diet, have a higher probability of diseases like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s,” Beelman said.
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